South Africa pushes back fishing rights allocation process

Published on
January 6, 2022
South Africa Deputy Director-General for Fisheries Management in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Susan Middleton

South Africa has pushed back the deadline for the 2020/2021 Fishing Rights Allocations Process (FRAP), which will now end on January 2022, after the new online application procedure became problematic for applicants.

Deputy Director-General for Fisheries Management in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Susan Middleton said, in a public notice dated 28 December 2021, the re-opening of the FRAP Online system is to “allow all registered users and current applicants a further opportunity to resubmit fresh applications and/or supplement their current applications with outstanding information and/or supporting documentation.”

The FRAP for 2021, which has been fraught with delays since it was announced last September, was originally set to close on 30 November 2021. After the closure, the final list of re-allocated fishing rights for the 12 sectors was supposed to be published at the end of December 2021.

However, according to Middleton, the online application process deadline has to be extended in response to pressure from various industry representatives and fishing associations who cited “numerous challenges presented to registered users acquainting themselves with a new FRAP Online application system that was introduced for the very first time this year,”

“Since going live, the FRAP online system was not user friendly and applicants encountered various issues between 22 November 2021 to 7 December 2021 whilst attempting to complete and submit their applications electronically,” Middleton said.

South Africa is re-allocating rights to parties that are interested in undertaking commercial fishing of demersal shark longline, hake deepsea trawl, hake longline, kwazulu-natal crustacean prawn trawl, small pelagic (sardines and anchovy), south coast rock lobster, squid, traditional linefish, and pole-and-line tuna.

Re-opening the FRAP online system gives applicants a further opportunity “to resubmit fresh applications and/or to supplement their current applications with outstanding information and/or supporting documentation.” No consideration will be given to applications received after 28 January 2022.

Although the Fisheries Department had extended the deadline for three days to 10 December 2021 to cater for the various challenges posed by the use of the online application system, Middleton said the period “may have been insufficient resulting in many registered users not being able to successfully submit and/or upload their applications onto the FRAP online platform before the closing date.”

“A further difficulty raised by the industry is that the current FRAP Online Application Process does not afford registered users the opportunity to submit hard copy applications nor can applications be submitted manually,” she said. “During the initial screening process the respective assessment teams observed that a number of Exclusionary Criteria had not been complied with, which the Department attributes to the fact that the FRAP Online System may not have been user friendly.”  

Photo courtesy of the South Africa Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment

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